Peace to you!
This weekend Jesus feeds the five thousand with only a few loaves and a couple of fish. Whenever we hear this story we are reminded of Moses and the people in the desert. They had hunger and thirst, then God provided the manna from heaven and water from the rock so that no one was lacking. Elisha did not keep what was offered to him but gave it to the people instead and upon blessing it, there was plenty for all. The people in the Gospel story were in a deserted place and in need so Jesus made sure that all had their fill. He did it to fulfill God’s Word and to reveal who He is and show that God loves and cares for them.
We believe in miracles and God’s mighty power to provide for his people. Jesus could have made stones turn into bread if he had wanted to—we know that. But that is not what happened here. Jesus asked people to share what they had, then he blessed it and what was shared became more than sufficient for a multitude!
There is a human tendency to store up more than what we need for ourselves, an extra amount against lean times, and most of us agree that this is prudent and wise.
Today, Jesus calls us to share some of what we have with others. To not share or to not give, even from the little we have closes us off from what God’s blessings can bring to ourselves and others.
The people with Moses in the desert were not permitted to store more than they could eat for that day. They learned to trust and depend on God’s providence for each single day. By asking us to give and share, Jesus invites us to increase our confidence, trust and grow in our love by imitating God’s goodness. This frees us from worry, fear and selfishness.
The sharing of money or things we have is far more enriching to our souls than the things that we give. Giving connects a person more deeply with God, who is generous. Giving brings satisfaction and fulfills our longing for happiness because helping others brings joy. It also connects us with our past present and future generations of the Church. Giving makes the scriptures alive and real and our faith finds a concrete expression through it. People who are generous are models and heroes that encourage everyone to be generous and the whole community begins to see accomplishments that could not have taken place otherwise. When we share, our prayer life is enlivened and our faith grows as we gain a deeper sense of ownership and belonging to God and the Church. We also grow in a special kind of freedom from being overly attached to things of earth and from fear of being in want or need. As we begin to understand that God cannot be outdone in generosity, our values and priorities become refined as we consciously labor to build the kingdom of heaven on earth. May God bless you and guide you in the way of joy and peace! +++ Fr. Peter